Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Forever Friends


8"x10" oil
Shelburne Farms is the setting for this scene.  The balustrade is in the gardens overlooking Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains in NY state.  These women are some of the important women in my life.  I feel very blessed to have had so many wonderful females in my life, starting with my mother who was humble, sweet, nurturing, supportive and offered unconditional love.  She taught me to see the world in a joyful way and tried to teach me to not be swayed by silly things, opinions or people.  She was an artist and one of my dreams came true when she and I attended a Dreama Tolle Perry painting workshop together.  I miss her funny way of saying things, her passion for her family and her wonderful giggle.  She wasn't perfect, like the rest of us, but her faults have faded in my mind because her positive qualities overshadowed them.  I remember as a 12 year old hearing her story about her mother's death when she was 12 and thinking I could not go on without my mom.  It helped me start to see her amazing strength.  She couldn't read and would have been diagnosed with dyslexia if they had known what it was back then, and she was left-handed, another deficit.  She was one of 13 siblings and the school decided she was unteachable and was needed more at home rather than get an education.  She was ashamed about this, but I think it just goes to show what a resourceful woman she was.  She went to art school for a short time and joined the Navy as a bookkeeper because she was a wiz with numbers.  She was a talented mom to five kids and the true definition of great homemaker.  She felt insecure about her lack of education, but taught herself to read and educated herself and she and my dad both valued their children getting an advanced education.  I didn't know, until I was an adult, that my mom had been faking her way life because she couldn't read.  So many things made sense then, like: not ever reading to us when we were little, spending nights up reading when we were teens, and the way she wrote notes in beautiful penmanship but would always leave out words.  Vocabulary was important to my parents. My dad taught me the word "facetious,"  and he was a good example of that.  My mom taught me to use "flibbertigibbet," of which she was not at all!  Go Figure!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Tumbling

8"x10" oil  $200   http://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/christine-holzschuh/untitled/474792




Letting out a big sigh of relief right about now.  I just delivered well over 100 figurative paintings (including the one featured here)  to the Castleton Downtown Gallery for a show which opens the first of July.  Like so many things in life, getting ready for this show, aptly titled Go Figure, was fraught with many potential stumbling blocks. Rather than describing the mundane frustrations I have encountered, I will just say that it was a bit like the little tufted titmouse who repeatedly is flying into my window convinced that the image of a threatening competitor is real! Nothing too interesting or life altering in any of that, but it has brought to mind more important events that have changed the course of my life.  One of those was the arrival of my youngest son, Harry.  He arrived with that first name and a heartbreaking back story.  He was an abandoned baby, teeny weeny and clearly scared.  My memory of holding him for the first time was of him gripping my skin with his fingers and toes and holding himself on to me for dear life.  This is not normal behavior for a 6 month old who should be all soft and floppy.  This unprecedented early physical development, although the result of survival skills, has served him well.  He is a natural athlete and incredibly strong.  It took almost 12 years for the adoption to go through, but that day stands as one of the happiest in my life. I could, and probably should, write a book about all we have been through, but the happy ending to the story is that he is a handsome and successful adult who has a sweet and loving personality. Aside from my parents, he has done more to form the better parts of my character than anyone else.  It is easy for others to view our story and react by saying what a wonderful thing I have done for him.  But, truth be told, it really is the other way around....Go Figure! 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Umbrellas

8"x10" oil Not for Sale
It is so easy to forget that for the majority of my life I have not had immediate access to obscure information at my fingertips, literally.  In my father's lifetime, he went from flying a heavy tin can around to seeing a man land on the moon.  We can instantly talk face to face, "2001: A Space Odyssey" style, to friends across the globe.  It is amazing, but equally amazing that we can also take courses online for free or very little money.  This painting is a result of Leslie Saeta's online course of painting with a palette knife, which is something new for me.  I have been thirsty for a change in my artwork, and even though I don't think painting with a palette knife is it, it is a nice tool to add to my bag of tricks. There are tons of online classes available and the advantage of them is not just the low cost, but the opportunity to take your time or move quickly through them.  The drawback is the lack of interaction with other students or an instructor, however most of the art instructors I have become familiar with are willing to correspond via email.  I think it is a great way to mix things up a bit and step into new territory.  It gives those brain neurons new pathways and shakes things up a bit.  It will take making a bunch more of these paintings to feel comfortable with the palette knife, so it may take me while...but I am in no hurry.  Considering that I am well into the last quarter of my life, that may not be true about everything....Go Figure!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Spring Bouquet

11"x14" oil on canvas, $350
OK so this is not a figure...lets see if I can make a connection, because of course, that is what it is all about.  There is a quote in the Bible that speaks about not worrying, just asking, that goes something like this....the flowers in the field don't work and yet King Solomon wasn't dressed this good.  So, if we make the assumption that God dressed the flowers and he takes care of our needs too...that sort of associated flowers with the figure of a person.  I may be stretching this one a bit, but there is an importance in making the connection and it does seem to be the point of almost everything.  My paintings have little meaning without the connection...without someone who is moved by them.  I get something out of it too, in the making of it.  I feel meditative, which is good for my soul.  I feel struggle, concentration, problem solving, and discovery which is all good for my brain.  I feel the "zone" which is good for tapping into that creative power bigger than all of us put together.  However, without the connection to others, there is no purpose in finishing them.  When they are successful, it taps something in many and gives them joy.  That is enough for me ultimately.....but of course....in the short term, it is also my livelihood and I did put a price on it....so I guess I also want to sell it.  Oh well, so much for lofty ideals....Go Figure!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Fiesta

6"x6" oil
My grandson used to live close by, however, and alas, they have moved across the country.  Initially we would take him to a Mexican restaurant every year for his birthday.  They sang to him, gave him a balloon, and he got to wear a sombrero.  One day he told me he could speak 3 languages, American, English and Spanish.  American because, well, he is.  English because his dad is British, and Spanish because of the restaurant.  It is funny what we hold close to our hearts and carry freshly in our minds from our experiences in the past.  Recently, I remembered something from junior high journalism class.  I had a great teacher.  She really taught and valued the intellectual curiosity of her students.  One day she said, "The biggest problem with propaganda is that eventually people will believe nothing."  It struck me at the time like a light bulb going on.  I really thought about it, but didn't have any personal experience to back it up.  It was a bit like the story of the boy crying wolf.  At the end of the year it was a question on the final exam.  Of course I remembered it, and amazingly she told me I was the only one in the class that got it right and that someday it would mean something to me.  In this age of fake news and Russians influencing what we think by interfering in what is leaked, that phrase really does mean something to me.  For all of our differences, I hope Americans can come to grips with who we are.  I don't want to live in a country made up of radical factions that are at war with each other.  Really, are we not just a ginormous tribe?  Go figure!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Oh My!

6"x6" oil
I frequently hear this phrase from the "experts,"  Paint What You Love.  I think there is wisdom in that.  I paint a lot of different things, but I always love painting children.  Well, not really children, but painting images of children.  I like my children unadorned and natural, certainly not covered in paint.  I can see things I would have done differently if I was starting this painting again.  Things I know but frequently forget, but all in all, I loved doing it and am happy with the results.  Go Figure!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - New Consumers

10"x10" oil
Some of my concerns have been sneaking into my paintings lately.  I try not to be overly political or socially opinionated, but we all have issues that matter to us.  I love painting children, especially in poses that are natural and not posed.  These three Tweeners are conversing about something important in front of a fashion art poster.  I have 3 granddaughters so I am paying attention to the influences our culture has on them.  I heard the phrase "Pester Power" in terms referring to children influencing the buying habits of their parents.  I don't think this is new, it just seems more excessive and high dollar.  I remember pestering my mom to buy me the shoes I wanted.  There were tears involved.  I lost.  I got sturdy tie up shoes instead.  "No," was common in my parents' vocabulary. I am concerned about how advertising is helping to define how the young girls see themselves and forming a picture for them of what it means to be a girl.  On the other hand, I love to see my girls dressed in their lovely pink dresses as they explore the world and discover its magic and mysteries...like catching salamanders!  I may have to paint this scene!  Go Figure

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